Rolf Ørjan Høgset: “Good pictures are never a coincidence”

Now – for the first time ever, a interview done by me for this blog, Im here with Rolf Ørjan Høgseth. He is a commercial photographer based in Mo i Rana. You can see his commercial work at http://www.frihuset.no, and his personal work over at http://www.rolfie.no.

 

Hello, Rolf.

 

Tell us a little about yourself, Rolf

 I am 35 years old, living in Mo i Rana with my two kids, Rikke and Tirill, 5 and 6 years old. I work as a photographer, both portraits, weddings and commercials.

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How did you get into photography? And when and why did you decide to make the move from having photography as just a hobby to making a professional career out of your passion?

I have worked with photographers since 1992, but mostly as a vendor of technology and equipment.

Two years ago I got my first DSLR, and I started to experiment with portraits and erotic act-pictures

I had my first exhibition and got some PR, and soon my first jobs came.

That time I was working as a CEO in a medium size technology company, and I was just bored with moving papers and solving personell problems.

So it was a natural step to follow my artistic drifts.

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What do you recomend to other people trying to make the move from amateur to professional? Aside from taking awesome pictures – ofcourse.

My most important reccomandation is to not be afraid of giving away knowledge and content you have to spread your content as much as possible and let everybody know where you are and what  you stand for

You work with a lot of models for your shoots, both personal projects and for commercial shoots. How do you get in touch with your models, and do you have anything to recomend to people starting out shooting fashion/glamour/nudes who are looking for models?

 I pick up models at street. I need only 2-3 seconds of look to find out if a person has what it takes, most people think its great to be asked. And Im also quite well known locally, and that helps.

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You don’t use any webpages, or agencies to find your models?

No, I manage my own models. My archive is now somewhere around 450 models, and about 15 of them have become professional

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What do you primarily look for in models? Ie: any special facial features, and in personality?

I look for character-models, people that will be recognized by just one look.

What is for you the most defining character of a professional photographer? Is it just about the money and making a living off it when it comes to beeing recognized as a professional?

Well, you have to make money of course. But… I think what I want to see in a professional photographers, is that he or she is NOT doing it for the money, but for the personal joy of it.

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Your businiess strategy is a bit of a unique, where you actually give out high res files to your clients. How is that working for you?- And perhaps more importantly, why does it work?

My customers get all highres pix from the shoot, and they may do whatever they want with it, except giving it away for commercial purposes. The result is that my images are spread all over the place. Reaching out to people that would never have heard about me if I used a traditional businiess model.

 What about prints? Don’t you lose a lot of money, with clients probably printing images at photostores etc?

No, my clients prefer that I do the prints, to get the right touch on colors, cropping, and so on, and my prices are very competitive.

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Do you do your printing inhouse, or do you use an external lab?

I do all prints larger than 20x20cm. inhouse. I pay about 1/5 of what I would pay at an external lab, and I get higher quality.

When it comes to marketing; what do you do to market yourself towards editorial and advertising clients?

I make people talk about me.

Its quite easy… its all about making provocative pictures

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What do you think makes your clients pick you?

A combination of product quality and price, same rules as everywhere

Who is your dream company / person to shoot an Ad campaign for?

Well… I think I would be really happy if I got a call from Hennes & Mauritz. I dont know why them actually, I just like the style on some of their campaigns

 How do you like to work at a shoot? Do you have everything planned down to the smallest detail, or do you just wing it? (Or perhaps something inbetween?)

It differs, some times ever detail is planned, some times I improvise. Most professional customers need planning, with lots of meetings, to help me understand their way of communicating, and to create something that matches their profile.

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You use photoshop exstensively to retouch your images. Can you tell us a bit about your workflow? And how you use the digital darkroom to create the images you want.

I work as far as possible with makeup and lighting, but I have to use some retouching techniques to finish the job.  I use both Photoshop and Lightroom, depending on the type of job.

I have a lot of experience working in Photoshop, and on portrait-shoots with kids, I prepare 100 pictures in 10-15 minutes.

It is very important for a professional photographer today, to have a good digital workflow.

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 What is your favorite / most valueable tool in photoshop?

Curves !!

Do your images have any special personal traits that makes them easily recognizable as yours? How would you define your style?

I do a lot of styles, but some categories are more known than others. My glossy fashion-portraits is probably most definable as typically my style

The fashion-portraits are heavily retouched, perfect skin, perfect lines, fancy make up.

BUT they also fall between some market segments, and they are really hard to sell.

What gear do you use? Im thinking lenses, cameras and flashes.

I use Canon and Hasselblad cameras and a wide range of lenses.

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If you had to pick one body and one lense only, wich ones would it be?

Canon 1Ds Mk III with EF 85mm f/1.2. Probably 85% of all my pictures is made with that combination.

But if I only made commercial pictures, I would have chosen the Hasselblad with 150mm f/3.2.

 

To you; what makes a good photograph good?

I was talking about that some questions ago… its all about WHY you are making pictures.

And… the strange thing, is that it is visible in the pictures.

I can easily see what pictures are made by photographers that really loves their job. Good pictures are never a coincidence

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What inspires you most, as a photographer? And I dont necessarily mean other photographers / photographs.

My inspiration comes from the response I get from my customers and the general audience

… and beauty

What is your the favorite image in your own portfolio?

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And do you have any last words / recomandatioins to the readers?

 

Use your eyes, and try different angles – and I dont necessarily means just different camera-angles.

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